Army Chief plays down Annandale ground row
New Delhi: Striking a conciliatory note on the Annandale ground controversy, Army Chief Gen V K Singh on Monday said he would speak to Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister P K Dhumal and resolve the issue.
"I will talk to the Chief Minister. Ours and the Chief Minister`s relationship is very good," Singh told reporters here when asked to comment on the row between Himachal Pradesh government and military over ownership of Annandale ground.
The 121-bigha ground, surrounded by thick forests just 4.5 km from Shimla`s Ridge, has been under the Army`s control since World War II and has now become a bone of contention between the state government and the Army amid an intensified campaign launched by Himachal Pradesh Cricket association headed by Anurag Thakur, MP and son of Dhumal, to restore it to the state authorities.
The row had escalated after the Army, in a statement, said national security cannot be ignored for "game and gimmicks".
The Army Chief said after the news was published he had asked the Western Command about whose fault it was.
"They (Western Command) have told us. They will rectify it and we have no problem with that," Singh said.
At the same time, the General said that the Army had told the government that this (Annandale ground) was the only place which is open and suitable for strategic purposes.
"That land was given to the Army on lease and it was the only place where a helicopter can land in times of an emergency," Singh said.
After the Army statement, Himachal Chief Minister P K Dhumal threatened to file a defamatory suit against the Army if it did not tender an unconditional apology for allegedly maligning the image of the government and him in particular.
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